Poll on Growth Questioned

The poll on growth in Loudoun recently conducted and released by the government ["Poll Shows Support for Slow Growth," Loudoun Extra, Dec. 22] was not unexpected nor were the conclusions drawn. No government that initiates arbitrary, capricious and punitive land-use policies can be expected to deviate from the historic template of using bogus statistics to justify its illicit acts.

The reported poll lumped three population groups together, having little in common except that they were located in Loudoun.

With so many variables, use of such a population base negates the value of any meaningful conclusions concerning growth, especially when the specific growth issues were not identified.

While three-fourths of Loudoun County residents were polled, 50 percent from eastern Loudoun, 25 percent each from Leesburg and western Loudoun, the results of only 1,000 responders were considered, without reference to the method of selection. Were the 1,000 individuals whose responses favored the government's position on growth control the only results accepted?

Buried deep in the report was the fact that, even using a poll specifically designed to deliver predictable results on the same population base, public support for the slow growth, anti-people agenda declined.

As far as can be ascertained, none of those polled were members of Citizens for Property Rights, with its 500-plus members residing in all three areas, casting further serious doubt on the validity of the results.

Of course, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to decipher the ulterior motive of the present anti-people Board of Supervisors in its attempt through the poll to influence public sentiment in favor of its slow growth agenda. Common sense will do.

Are there any individuals who ever owned property that would willingly give up consent inherent in their right of ownership? Are there any landowners who would want their land devalued by 54 percent? Are there any farmers who would wish the right denied to graze their cattle in flood plains or water them in streams that run through their farms?

Are there any homeowners who would willingly place restrictions on their properties to make them nonconforming and subject to extraordinary covenants, destroying any semblance of individuality? Are there any residents who would willingly contribute hard-earned tax dollars to support the wealthy, who have no intention of developing their property in the first instance, as is being proposed in the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program?

Are any citizens willing to pay increased real estate taxes based on destruction of the county's tax base, shown to be largely dependent on residential growth, that the General Plan all but prohibits?

If these were the questions asked, I doubt that the results of the poll would have shown any support for the board's no-growth effort.

Intentionally removing landowner consent, devaluing the land and reducing the remaining properties to nonconforming lots through down-zoning, simply to preserve open space for the morbid sport of chasing and destroying the nonthreatening fox from horseback, then being rewarded for their noble efforts through the tax-supported PDR program, cannot stand.

Lawrence V. Phillips

Round Hill